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GLOBAL RELEASE: SMART CITIES POSE NEW SECURITY CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

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chaumburg, IL, USA (29 May 2018) — As smart cities integrate connected technologies to operate more efficiently and improve the quality of city services, new vulnerabilities arise that require diligent governance of municipal technology. New ISACA research on smart cities reveals several key areas of consideration when it comes to the security of these cities and the critical infrastructure systems they depend upon.

Global survey respondents flag the energy sector to be the critical infrastructure system most susceptible to cyberattacks (71%), followed by communications (70%) and financial services (64%). Interestingly enough, energy and communications also are among the top three critical infrastructure sectors that respondents anticipate can benefit the most from smart cities, along with transportation.

The research shows that malware/ransomware and denial of service are the two most concerning types of smart infrastructure attacks. Additionally, respondents noted that cities’ smart infrastructure is most likely to be targeted by nation-states (67%) and hacktivists (63%).

Despite the many threats for which cities are specifically vulnerable, only 15% of respondents consider cities to be most equipped to contend with smart infrastructure cyber attacks, compared to 55% who think the national government would be better suited to deal with the threats.

“Before our cities can be identified as being ‘smart,’ we must first and foremost transfer this smart attitude to the way we approach and govern the rollout of new technology and systems,” said Robert E Stroud, CGEIT, CRISC, past ISACA board chair and chief product officer at XebiaLabs. “Our urban centers have many potentially attractive targets for those with ill intent, so it is critical that cities make the needed investments in well-trained security professionals and in modernizing their information and technology infrastructure.”

The majority of respondents consider implementing new tools and techniques such as smart grids and artificial intelligence for cybersecurity to be important, but less than half of respondents consider those likely to be implemented in the next five years.

The need for more effective communication with residents living in a developing smart city also is apparent, as 3 in 4 respondents indicate that municipal governments have not educated residents well about the benefits of living in smart cities. Tapping into smart technology to modernize parking, ID systems and other city services can create efficiencies and lessen congestion.

ISACA’s research polled around 2,000 global respondents in February and March 2018. More information on the research and related resources can be found at www.isaca.org/smart-cities-survey.

 

 

 

 

Source: ISACA

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Security

STOLEN APPLE IDS USED IN STRING OF DIGITAL PAYMENT THEFTS IN CHINA, SAYS REPORT

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Popular Chinese e-transaction giants Alipay and Tencent Holdings are warning users that hackers used hijacked Apple IDs to steal cash from customers’ accounts, according to a Bloomberg report Wednesday. It’s unclear how much the hackers stole.

Alipay said in a blog post that it’s working with Apple to figure out how the hackers got in. The company warned that customers may be vulnerable to theft if they’ve linked their Apple IDs to Alipay accounts, WeChat Pay or credit cards. Alipay suggested users lower their transaction limits to prevent large amounts of money from being stolen.

When reached for comment, Apple didn’t directly address the stolen Apple IDs.

“We encourage customers to create a strong password and turn on two-factor authentication to protect their accounts,” an Apple spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

Tencent, which developed the popular chat app WeChat, reportedly said it’s also contacted Apple. It advised users to safeguard their Apple ID. WeChat has more than a billion users worldwide and can be used to pay for basically everything in China.

Alipay operates under Ant Financial, which is controlled by Jack Ma, the billionaire co-founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba.

Alipay and Tencent Holdings didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

 

 

 

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RUSSIA GRU CLAIMS: UK POINTS FINGER AT KREMLIN’S MILITARY INTELLIGENCE

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The UK government has accused Russia’s military intelligence service of being behind four high-profile cyber-attacks.

The National Cyber Security Centre says targets included firms in Russia and Ukraine; the US Democratic Party; and a small TV network in the UK.

A Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman described the accusation as a “rich fantasy of our colleagues from Britain”.

World Anti-Doping Agency computers are also said to have been attacked.

Files later emerged showing how British cyclists Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome had used banned substances for legitimate medical reasons.

At the time, some of the attacks were linked to Russia – but this is the first time the UK has singled out the GRU, the Russian military intelligence service.

British police think the men who carried out the Salisbury poisoning in March worked for the same group.

Speaking on behalf of the Russian foreign ministry, Maria Zakharova said the UK’s accusations were “mixed in one perfume bottle”, adding: “Maybe a Nina Ricci bottle: GRU, WADA, Kremlin hackers – it’s a diabolical perfume.”

But Defence Minister Gavin Williamson condemned Russia as a “pariah state”, and said Moscow’s “reckless and indiscriminate” attacks had left it isolated in the international community.

The NCSC said it has assessed “with high confidence” that the GRU was “almost certainly responsible” for the cyber-attacks.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the GRU had waged a campaign of “indiscriminate and reckless” cyber strikes that served “no legitimate national security interest”.

Cyber security consultant Andrew Tsonchev said individuals can get “caught up” in the attacks.

He said: “The more obvious and urgent effect that people need to be aware of is that the services they use – the essential services – are at risk and are actively being targeted for sabotage.”

Vladimir PutinImage copyrightREUTERS

What is the GRU accused of?

The NCSC says hackers from the GRU, operating under a dozen different names – including Fancy Bear – targeted:

  • The systems database of the Montreal-based World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), using phishing to gain passwords. Athletes’ data was later published
  • The Democratic National Committee in 2016, when emails and chats were obtained and subsequently published online. The US authorities have already linked this to Russia
  • Ukraine’s Kyiv metro and Odessa airport, Russia’s central bank, and two privately-owned Russian media outlets – Fontanka.ru and news agency Interfax – in October 2017. They used ransomware to encrypt the contents of a computer and demand payment
  • An unnamed small UK-based TV station between July and August 2015, when multiple email accounts were accessed and content stolen

Media captionWhat do we know about the Russian intelligence organisation, the GRU?

Former UK diplomat Lord Ricketts said it was likely the Russians targeted Wada “to distract from the very serious allegations about Russian athletes”, and targeted the Ukraine as they were trying to “destabilise” the region.

But he added other attacks seemed random and might have been part of a “pilot project” to “see what they can do at a point where they wanted to use” cyber warfare.

What has the UK government said?

“The GRU’s actions are reckless and indiscriminate: they try to undermine and interfere in elections in other countries; they are even prepared to damage Russian companies and Russian citizens,” said Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

“This pattern of behaviour demonstrates their desire to operate without regard to international law or established norms and to do so with a feeling of impunity and without consequences.

“Our message is clear: together with our allies, we will expose and respond to the GRU’s attempts to undermine international stability.”

Lord Ricketts believes rather than the UK participating in an offensive cyber counterattack, the government should continue targeting “dodgy Russian money” with economic sanctions.

Presentational grey line

Analysis

By Gordon Corera, BBC security correspondent

Today’s statement is part of a drive by Britain to keep the pressure on the Russian state and specifically on Russia’s military intelligence outfit – the GRU.

Some of these cyber-attacks had been previously attributed by private sector researchers to Russia. Britain had also attributed other cyber-attacks to Russia.

But for the first time British intelligence has singled out the GRU – and not just the Russian state – as specifically responsible for a series of events which hit a wide range of targets.

The statement also collates the range of names that have been publicly linked to the GRU by different security researchers.

Some are well known, like Fancy Bear, and others less well known. The British statement puts them all together in one place and confirms that in the view of British intelligence they all belong to the GRU.

Presentational grey line

Do other countries carry out cyber attacks?

Russia is not the only state to have been accused of cyber-attacks.

What is the GRU?

Media captionWhat do we know about the Russian intelligence organisation, the GRU?

The GRU, also known as the Main Intelligence Directorate, is the intelligence arm of the Russian military.

It is different to the former KGB (now known as the SVR and FSB) as it conducts undercover military operations and collects intelligence operations around the globe.

In recent years the GRU has been accused of undercover involvement in the conflict in Ukraine, which saw the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014.

It is believed that the two men accused of poisoning Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, named as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, were GRU agents.

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GOOGLE TESTED THIS SECURITY APP WITH ACTIVISTS IN VENEZUELA. NOW YOU CAN USE IT TOO

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When Jigsaw tested this privacy app with a few dozen political activists in Venezuela, the company wanted to keep the trial small.

Within weeks, thousands of people around the world were using Intra, a security app used to stop government regimes from censoring the internet and manipulating traffic.

On Wednesday, Jigsaw, a tech incubator owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet, announced it’s releasing this app to the world.

The app takes on DNS (Domain Name System) manipulation, one of the most common techniques used for political manipulation and spreading malware. Intra creates an encrypted connection between your phone and DNS servers, which makes it much harder for governments and hackers to intercept that traffic.

“DNS manipulation represents one of the most common forms of censorship in the world,” said Justin Henck, a product manager at Jigsaw. “That’s true for people at risk as well as those who are just trying to live out their lives and understand what’s going on.”

Think of DNS servers like a phone book — something that matches up a domain name that you type in with the website’s IP address, where it’s actually hosted.

When connections aren’t secure, attackers can intercept DNS traffic, directing people to pages infected with malware instead, or completely block out online resources. Venezuela’s government has been known block access to social media applications and news websites through DNS manipulation, according to a study from the Open Observatory of Network Interference.

The practice is widespread, as researchers have found governments in more than 60 countries, including Iran, China and Turkey, using DNS manipulation to censor parts of the internet.

Intra was released on the Play Store on Wednesday morning for free, and Jigsaw had been testing its security features among a small group of activists in Venezuela since the beginning of the summer, Henck said.

They wanted to keep its public beta limited, but the app spread through word of mouth in Venezuela, to the point where activists from around the world started using it.

“People found it useful as a tool they could use to get the access that they needed,” Henck said.

Intra automatically points your device to Google’s public DNS server, but you’re able to point it to change it to other servers like Cloudflare’s 1.1.1.1 through the settings. There’s not much you need to do with it for your encrypted connection — the app really has only one button that you tap to turn on.

This encrypted connection to DNS servers comes by default on the upcoming version of Android Pie, but Jigsaw’s developers realized that millions of people that don’t have the latest updates wouldn’t have that same protection. It’s important to consider when about 80 percent of Android’s users aren’t on the latest version of the mobile operating system.

“There were millions of users that we realized we weren’t going to help just by adding features to Android 9,” said Ben Schwartz, the lead engineer on Intra.

The app should be compatible with 99 percent of Android phones, he said. When Jigsaw’s engineers tested it with Venezuelan activists, the majority of people were using devices from 2011 and 2012, he added.

“It’s been really valuable to be able to reach all those users,” he said.

 

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